Dr. Tosin Osibajo-Emmanuel is the Founder and President of Therapists Without Borders Foundation. She is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy and also a certified LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) BIG Clinician; a practice area which focuses on improving movement in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
She has practiced in the rehabilitation medicine sector for about 6 years within various fields of practice which includes psychiatry, sub-acute care skilled nursing facilities, acute care facilities, and home health.
She was one of the first female to obtain her Doctorate in occupational therapy within her company at a young age. She began the spinal cord program in her facility which provides therapeutic services that restores and/or maintains function in patients that have acquired spinal cord injuries and surgeries.
In a chat with Sola Abe of Woman.NG, she tells us more about her work.
Can you share more about what you do as an occupational therapist?
Occupation Therapy is an exciting field of rehabilitation medicine. My areas of practice focuses on improving patients’ function to safely and independently perform activities of daily living with aims to improve their overall quality of life. These interventions include providing intricate therapeutic services to patients with conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, socially, and emotionally disabling. Some of the services I provide include activity modification, fine motor and gross motor retraining, cognitive skills retraining, cognitive-behavioral therapy, visual-perceptual skills retraining, and sensory-processing interventions.
People are more familiar with physical therapy. Is there any difference between that and OT?
Physical therapy and occupational therapy are parts of rehabilitation medicine; however, they differ with their scope of practice. Although, there are some grey areas where these practices collide with the services they provide in regards to functional mobility and ambulation. Occupational therapy differs from physical therapy in that occupational therapy provides holistic services whereas physical therapy is more biomechanical. Occupational therapists evaluates the overall aspect of the individual beginning with his medical diagnosis, then his functional deficits, followed by his areas of occupation and lastly his reintegration into his community. In other words, we assess the overall well being of the patient to ensure that they are able to engage in activities that productive and meaningful to them. Physical therapy on the other hand, focuses more on the anatomical deficits patients convey during their illness. However, it is important to consider the person, the environment and the person’s occupation as a whole in order to provide a holistic form of intervention and a safe reintegration into the community.
Generally, people think that therapy is for ‘sick’ people, what would you say about this?
Therapy is not just an intervention for people who have physical and mental disorders. Therapy is for everyone. Actually, therapy is usually given as a form of intervention to help an individual feel better and become stronger after a stressful event. Therapy is usually stigmatized with a negative connotation that usually makes people reject and condemn the services in general. However, I believe that through constant education and awareness within our communities this negative stigma will decrease. Therapy in general helps improve function and enhance our overall quality of life.
In a stressful city like Lagos, in what ways can one go through therapy without visiting the hospital?
Lagos is a stress city, I concur. There are some events we can’t control on a daily basis. These events such as traffic, provision of electrical power and water supply and the psychological state of people we meet daily are some examples of things we don’t have control over. However, we can try to make it less stressful by incorporating various therapeutic strategies as we continue with our daily occupations. Some of these therapeutic strategies such as
Engaging in deep breathing exercises during a stressful event helps serve as a form of relaxation technique.
Engaging and encouraging positive thoughts helps to provide some form of calmness to our mind
Engaging in visual imagery helps to relax the tensions in our muscles.
Engaging in music therapy uplifts mood during a stressful day
Engaging in productive communication serves as a form of healing and closure to during a stressful day
In addition, our organizations provides free therapy services to the community. Also we are afflicted a private hospital in Lekki, should individuals need to to be referred to a hospital. So it’s best to follow us on our instagram page @twbfoundation and our website www.therapywithoutborders.org if you have any questions and concerns- we will be glad to address it.
Please share with us the benefit of therapy in Rehabilitation Medicine?
Therapy is beneficial to everyone but must especially those experiencing physical and psychological deficits. Therapy helps to reduce pain or even eliminate pain, improve mobility, manage diabetes and vascular condition by providing a diabetes management plan which would include exercise, foot care education, and proper dieting education. Therapy helps to manage age-related issues by teaching patients how to manage arthritic or osteoporotic conditions conservatively. Therapy assists in managing heart and lung disease by educating patients on proper breathing exercises. Therapy helps to manage women’s health and other conditions. Lastly, therapy helps to restore function but physically and mentally and improve patients overall quality of life.
You are the founder of Therapists without Borders. Tell us about it.
The Therapist Without Borders Foundation (TWBF) was founded by Dr. Tosin Osibajo-Emmanuel in 2015. This foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the provision therapeutic services, consultation, and education to the community at large. TWBF was created to with a distinct purpose to improve quality of life, increase engagements in meaningful occupations and community involvement, and promote aging in place in the communities we serve.
TWBF aims to raise awareness regarding the need for skilled rehabilitation services, wellness activities, and preventative care services through the disciplines of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech language therapy by promoting the values of each profession to the communities we serve. Our goal is to contribute valuable skilled services, instructive education and training, and informative materials to communities in need with hopes to bring about positive and meaningful changes in the lives of each individual we meet.
What inspired the creation of the initiative?
This organization was created due to the passion we convey about our careers in rehabilitation medicine. The founder, Dr. Tosin Osibajo Emmanuel, observed the need for these services within our communities due to the decreased awareness and services provided to individuals suffering from various forms of disabilities and mental illnesses. Her passion for humanity motivated her to create this foundation which serves as a platform to provide free therapeutic services to the community, and also raise awareness about this field of medicine to individuals at large.
What has been the response of Nigerians to what you do and your contributions thus far?
The response we have received thus far in Nigeria has being beyond or imaginations. From the year 2016 to present, Therapists Without Borders Foundation has contributed greatly in Lagos, Nigeria. As a self-funded organisation, this organisation have impacted lives in the Yaba area where this team promoted the spirit of giving through their 2016 therapeutic Christmas community party – which catered to 1000 individuals including children living in the impoverished areas.
Our 2018 visit to Nigeria was beyond imaginable. The TWBF team visited the SOS children village which is a well known orphanage in Isolo, Lagos Nigeria.
During our visit, I and my team met with the staff in this facility to discuss the benefits of this foundation with the children they serve. We proceeded by conducting a short occupational therapy school-based session that focused on visual imagery in conjunction with the utilization of fine-motor skills and eye-hand coordination skills.
We also met with the medical department and discussed the benefits of this foundation in providing therapeutic services to children with special needs within their organization and our society at large.